Group of engineers maintaining hard drive. Computer repair concept

Dell storage: A year from now?

When Dell announced plans to acquire storage vendor EMC, initial reactions were more about how their storage portfolios would clash, and less about how Dell’s solution offerings for customers can now become more end-to-end and complete. 

Dell’s Vice President for their Storage division, Peter Korce gives a little idea about how Dell’s storage portfolio might look like, moving forward.  Having managed engineering for storage technologies within HP even, and now Dell, Korce shared that Dell has been growing their storage business at Dell through acquisitions starting with the Equalogic storage line and then Compellent and so on.

“What we have been doing the past three years is bringing it altogether into oone product line,” he said.

This is done via moving into one code stack.

“We used to have three product lines with Compellent at the high end, EqualLogic, then PowerVault, resulting in three different pricing tiers.

“Going forward we are using only one code stack, starting with Dell SC series and basically using its code stack as building block to cover all market segments. The beauty of that is, if a customer uses our products at any time, they can scale up or down, and manage it all with the same look and feel,” Korce explained.

Combined individuality

According to Korce, the Compellent range of storage is known for its tiering capabilities. “So, basically you store data on solid state drives or bottom tier RPM drives. When you size arrays for performance, over time you add a third tier and that’s where data ultimately goes to, so it has to scale up.”

On the other hand, the EqualLogic portfolio was designed for ease-of-use in the SMB segment, so it does peer scaling which is practically limitless.

“We want to bring the best of both these worlds together. But they are different architecture, so it takes a lot of work,” Korce said.

The market landscape

At the moment Dell’s existing portfolio is future-ready to address customers with traditional data centres and storage area networking (SAN) play.

Korce observed, “Customers will continue to buy (storage) that way. But they are also using more software-defined storage, and this is expected to grow 60- to 70-percent depending on who you talk to.”

Dell has always been known to offer customers choice when it comes to ways or technologies that they want to deploy, and with storage it is no different as they cater to private, public clouds, SAN and software-defined storage.

“Sometimes we sell two products to customers because they have two different workloads,” Korce also said adding that their XC web-scale converged appliances is opening new doors for them.

“The beauty of the XC portfolio is that we tend to get new customers with that. We are going into areas where customers see it makes sense.”

The VP also said that the one thing that had appealed to customers is Dell’s footprint in servers.

He commented about their global partnership with Nutanix to bring Nutanix’s hyperconverged software to market, “When Nutanix used Super Micro as a building block, customers didn’t want Nutanix software on Super Micro, but on Dell’s hardware.”


(This journalist was a guest of Dell’s to Dell World 2015 in Austin, Texas).

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